A Servant’s Heart, A Braggart’s Mouth

A few months ago, my mom gave me a copy of a scrapbook put together for my home church’s 125th Anniversary.  She knows I’m really interested in genealogy, and I have deep roots in my little hometown (and by that I mean we’re all related). I flipped through it with her, enjoying the old photos.

My grandmother is in quite a few of the pictures, but she’s always standing in the back.  “She was never one to draw attention for her good works,” my mom said.  “She had a real servant’s heart.”

That phrase has stuck with me lately.  For the past few months, I have been on the strangest, strongest volunteering kick of my life.  I mean, I never used to seek out volunteer opportunities, and I’ve gone on three so far this week.  The change is radical.  And positive (I mean, obviously), but I don’t really know where it came from.  Maybe spending so many years in the company of social-justice oriented nuns has finally had an effect on me.  Maybe I’m antsy.  Maybe I just like it when three-year-olds pull my hair and slam my head into desks while we color.

I’d like to pretend it has to do with having a servant’s heart, like my grandmother.  But let’s be real here.  The only reason I get in the back row of a picture is because I know what angles work for me (and that would be “mostly hidden”).  I can’t keep my mouth shut about anything I do, good or bad.  Whether it’s lookin’ awkward on TV for The Salvation Army or buying a Funnoodle from the Rainbow Foods in Uptown at 2:30 a.m. (hypothetical example), if I think it’s funny, I’m going to tell everyone and their internet about it.

Some things should be publicized: the famine in the Horn of Africa is one I have no problems harping on about and hyperlinking to in everything I write.  Prepare to be hit with some more Step Out to Fight Diabetes action as I prepare to slow jog a 5K this month.  And if you make it through 2011 without volunteering at Feed My Starving Children with me, we must not know each other in real life.  Tell me, how did you find my blog?

I’m trying to come to terms with wanting a servant’s heart and having a braggart’s mouth.  My compromise of sorts is to ask myself why I’m telling someone a story. Is it because I want them to think highly of me? Or is it because it involves something silly and might make them laugh?  I am going to try to stop myself from telling the first kind, but the second is fair game. All I really want out of life, and I mean this in the most serious way possible, is to live ridiculously for the amusement of others.  Because is there anything better than making someone laugh?

Oh, dear.  Does it matter why I’ve fallen in love with volunteering?  No, I guess not.  Let me put this argument with myself to rest.

There are things to be done.  And there are stories to be told.  For now, I’ll just keep trying to do both.

Best Things of the Week! (An experiment)

A little background: I started this blog a few weeks ago because my teacher told me to.  For maybe the first time ever, I have genuinely loved doing my homework; whether the topic is Twitter or Target, I just like to write.  But there’s one topic I’d really like to write about more: me. I’ve toyed with the idea of starting a separate, me-in-real-life blog, but I can’t decide on a name (although top prizes to Sabrina for her submission, Rach-Elm Disease), and I also don’t know if the separation is necessary or if anyone would read it.  So this is my first (and maybe last) non-homework related post, an experiment in creativity — and by creativity I mean I completely ripped off this idea from my old friend theshooz.  Anyway.  Here goes.

1. The Boys

Last weekend, I went to visit two of my best friends, collectively known as The Boys.  They used to live in the Cities, but moved to Iowa a few months ago for work and school.  This was obviously a bad decision, and I’m still trying to get them to see the light and come back to me.

The Boys like comics (and comic book stores and superhero movies and games involving superhero characters) and karaoke, but mainly they like making jokes at my expense.  Sometimes I wonder why I put up with this abuse (or actively seek it out by driving for four hours) but then I remember that they once did this:

The boys as Gob and Tobias

The Boys dressed as GOB and Tobias for my birthday.

Clearly, they are worth it as people.

2. Free movie!

Constantly signing up for online contests and email lists paid off this week with two free passes to a preview screening of Horrible Bosses at the ICON theater in St. Louis Park.  Not only is that fast becoming my favorite theater in the Cities (the VIP section is amazing), I got to feel all kinds of important by seeing the movie a week before it actually premieres.

I don’t actually know why I was given these tickets, but pretending I’m a critic, I give the movie about a B.  I would recommend Horrible Bosses to fans of The Hangover or It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  So…not my mom.  Probably not your mom, either.  That’s about all I can think to say about it — Roger Ebert, your job is probably safe.

3. “Free” Twins tickets!

On Saturday I ventured to Target Field to watch the Twins fall apart to the Brewers.  Despite the loss, it was a gorgeous day at a gorgeous field.  My favorite player, Michael Cuddyer, hit a home run for me.  And I got to sit directly behind this guy:

trifecta of cool

Jean shorts, cut off top, pink fanny pack: trifecta of cool.

The tickets were “free” in the sense that I donated money to the American Diabetes Association and they sent me tickets.  This is actually the second Twins game the ADA has sent me to this year (follow the ADA on Twitter!).

Sitting in the golden glove

Sitting in the Golden Glove outside of Target Field. Apparently my legs are half as long as my friend's.

So that was the week that was.  What do you think, should I keep up this “feature?” Do I need to pay theshooz royalties for stealing her idea?  Is the world just waiting for a Rach-Elm Disease blog?

#SocialMediaDay, or how Twitter is making me go broke

Today is Social Media Day.  The part of me that grew up in the ’90s kind of can’t believe this is a real thing, but I also realize that I now use social media on a daily basis (wrote Captain Obvious in her blog).  ’90s-Rachel also can’t believe I’m about to say this next part, but these days, Twitter is increasingly important to my life.

I started using Twitter for the most noble of reasons: to stay up-to-date on my favorite celebrities.  I gradually added in local restaurants, news outlets, stores, and more.  Within a few months, I realized the free service of Twitter was actually causing me to spend money.

There’s always something going on in the Twin Cities, and Twitter makes it easier to stay up-to-date on the ones most exciting to me.  A recent highlight was seeing Chuck Klosterman at the Fitzgerald in St. Paul at an event called Wits — not only did I find out about it through Twitter, audience members were asked to tweet during the show.  Would this appeal to everyone? Definitely not, but it appealed to me and other followers of MPR and Chuck Klosterman.

Another big coup was finding out about (and subsequently buying early tickets to) Paul Simon’s concert at First Avenue.  I took my mom for Mother’s Day, so thank you, Twitter, for making me daughter of the year.

The Twitter madness is not limited to arts events: this weekend, I’ll be cheering on the Minnesota Twins in Target Field thanks to tickets from the American Diabetes Association.  The ADA offered free tickets to anyone who raised a certain amount of money for their Step Out to Fight Diabetes event.  I was planning to donate to the event anyway, and I love the Twins, so this was exactly the motivation I needed.

Oh, and I also found out about the upcoming New Kids on the Block/Backstreet Boys concert through Twitter.  Now that’s something ’90s Rachel can get behind.